Resource Guarding of Crate with Cat

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by corky, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    Corky and our Devon Rex cat have got along well for the two months the dog has been here. Recently, however, Corky has started resource guarding his crate with the cat. We thought the issue was food -- his rescue group trained him to eat in the crate -- and have been picking up Corky's food dish about 15 minutes after we put it down. I'm realizing now, though, that Corky is guarding his crate, not just the food. The cat has, in the past, slept in Corky's crate when he's not in it. The cat likes boxes. Corky now won't let the cat in his crate. He sits in it or by the door and growls. If we close the door he sits next to it. If the cat even walks by the crate, Corky growls or sits and stares with his ears pulled back. He's never lashed out and we quickly tell him "NO!" whenever he starts. Should we worry that Corky might hurt the cat?
     
  2. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    As long as the cat respects the growl, its not a problem. Som' cats don't understand it tho and will get even closer.

    I would stop saying "no" to him, or reprimanding him in anyway. You will make it worse. He is signalling you he is uncomfortable, and is warning the cat. If you reprimand him you will just make him more uncomfortable, or take away his warning system, or both.


    I do preventive training for this sort of thing as I have cats as well and it basically involves showering the dog with praise and treats when the cat is present and removing them when the cat leaves...or when the cat is a certain distance away.

    the goal isn't to stop the guarding, but to change the emotion, then the guarding will stop as a result. :)

    cute pair you have there btw. :)
     
  3. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Yes, you should worry that the dog might hurt or even kill the cat.

    I wouldn't say, "NO!" to him when he growls or otherwise is trying to communicate with the cat that he doesn't want him near the crate. If you shut off his ability to communicate, he'll stop doing that and suddenly and swiftly do what he's trying to avoid doing (with that communication).....lash out and bite.

    What I would suggest is, when you're right there to supervise and the cat is near by...(keep him at a distance though, that is tolerable for the dog...set up situations purposely) feed the dog tiny, scrumptious treats and lots of praise. So, in other words, he learns that the cat's presence is paired with really good things. Do this for a minute or two several times a day. When you can't be training or explicitly supervising, I recommend you keep the cat in a safe place. Save the treats and hand feeding even, of some of his dinner for these training sessions. Have someone else in your family keep the cat back if you can to help you practice this safely. When you're done with a training session, treats stop. The most fun and the best treats should be reserved for associating with the cat's presence.

    You might also begin feeding the dog in various locations rather than in the crate, as well as sleeping in a few different places, making those other places really special. Lower the value of the crate. But again, be very careful that your cat doesn't go too close....really watch or remove the cat from the room while he eats if you can't be supervising. Watch for that body language; stiffening, ears back, stares, freezing up....growls, etc. Those are warning signs and should be respected. You'll need to remove the cat to ensure nothing bad happens.

    Those little training exercises might help a little. But don't put all your confidence in that training. There's still instinct to defend one's resources.

    Employ some NILIF (Google it) with your dog. Remind him that YOU control his resources. Have him earn the good stuff. He needs to feel secure that you will keep the cat from threatening his resources, but that the things he likes are contingent on his behavior. You can even try having him sit/wait for a second before getting into his crate, if he loves his crate.

    If you don't feel comfortable about the dog, crate, cat issue, you might want to remove the crate from a room the cat goes in. And only use it when you must. Of course, the dog can just as well transfer that resource guarding to another thing....the couch or bed, whatever. But anyhow, don't pair a scolding or "no" with the presence of the cat. That can make him even worse. So practice some deferential training with him, if you're not already doing so.

    And remember, cats are considered prey to a lot of dogs, even if he's been fine for a while, as a pup. Things can change, especially as the dog gets more settled into his new environment. And if that's Corky in your siggy, (he's very cute btw) this type of dog can be particularly prey driven and it's not uncommon for them to not dig other animals in an up close and personal way.
     
  4. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Oh my goodness Crio. I must have been typing away while you posted. (I'm slow getting my thoughts into words sometimes) We both think alike. LOL.
     
  5. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    lol, I wondered if we posted same time!


    I think you give the longer more detail versions and i give cliff notes...I guess we can appeal to everyone that way ;) :)
     
  6. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    Thanks for your ideas, Crio and Dober. Yes, that's Corky. We don't know what kind of dog he is. Some think a pitbull mix, which is why he faced BSL PTS at a shelter, but he could be part pug, boxer, or lab for all we know. He does well with our cat and our female dog, but we rotate him and our older male dog because they have scrapped twice and we don't want a repeat.
     
  7. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    Could we use a similar method to re-introduce Corky and our other male dog? Have a person managing each dog and give them both a super-yummy treat?
     
  8. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    absolutely! Tho if they have had bad interactions already, you will need to take more baby steps, and have the dogs a decent distance apart when you start. :)

    the method usually used is the dog is walked into view (or into the room if they are ready) and you treattreattreat and then have your helper walk the dog out of the room and stop treating. Give a decent amount of time between reps so its obvious to the dog that the others dogs presence is making the good things happen.
     
  9. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    The dogs do see each other daily. They are only separated by a baby gate and are fine. I think if we bring them a bit closer together -- maybe just remove the gate -- and treat them they'd be ok. Thanks for your reply.
     
  10. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    We removed the crate two days ago and Corky hasn't growled at the cat since. Thank you.
     
  11. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Well, that's good news. Just continue to watch him because he can always decide that there is something else that needs guarding, including you, if the cat is close to you. I'd practice some NILIF because this helps him become more secure in that you'll take care of his needs, but contingent on his behavior and he won't tend to feel as much as though he has to fend for himself...as in guarding things from the cat or anybody. Be sure to keep on pairing good things with the cat so he gets so he really sees the cat as a pretty cool critter to have around. Always be careful though and supervise. I'd separate them when you can't. Good luck. Keep us posted on how things go.
     
  12. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    When no one is home Corky is crated so he and the cat are never alone together. That said, with my family's schedule right now, its rare that no one is home to supervise. Thanks!
     
  13. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    Dober is a future teller. We take the empty food dish away, we removed the crate and now the dog sleeps on the floor next to the sofa and growls if the cat comes near. Next the whole living room may become Corky's territory. We'll try more treats and NILIF.
     
  14. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    Update:

    We need to lock either the cat or Corky away when we are out. Do you think we should continue to use a kennel for Corky? Will it just continue his resource guarding behaviour or is it good to continue giving him his own space like that? If we put Corky in our bedroom or a bathroom to separate him would he then start guarding those rooms? Should we rotate the space he is separated in, ie. kennel, bedroom, bathroom to keep the value low? Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010

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